Thank you Dr. Albaugh

Glen Albaugh

Dr. Glen Albaugh, a retired sports psychologist who taught at UOP, celebrated his 80th birthday, 9 years ago, by hosting a golf tournament at Stockton Golf & Country Club and inviting his friends and family from all over. Some special guests were PGA stars Charlie Wi and Scott McCarron. There were well over 150 people in attendance. All proceeds were donated to First Tee – San Joaquin, specifically to help cover costs of training and certification for coaches – Glen’s passion.

The event raised over $40,000 and we are forever grateful to Glen and his unwavering support for First Tee!!

Ever get caught up in someone else’s passion so much that it becomes your own? This happened to me more than 9 years ago when an acquaintance asked me to help organize and work at a golf tournament. Dr. Glen Albaugh wanted to celebrate his 80th birthday gathering his closest friends to raise money for his favorite charity – First Tee – San Joaquin. What is First Tee, I asked? He explained its format of presenting core values and life skills to children 6 to 17 through the game of golf. Spending time with Dr. Albaugh, I couldn’t help but be curious about this wonderful program. Needless to say, after my first Saturday, I was hooked.

Dr. Albaugh has become a treasured friend and peer to me over the years. I admire that he continues to learn. Learning new ways to communicate and get his message out is not easy for folks that were not raised on computers or with internet. He has become proficient in both so that he and his message will remain relevant for years to come. A few other things to love and admire – he has a lovely singing voice and sits tall in the saddle, however he is not singing or riding much anymore. He is adored by his family, friends and peers. Our chapter is lucky to have him as an advisor.

Debbie Bond, Coach

Glen is a close friend and inspiration. He has taught me to explore areas of golf and life, I would have never done on my own. Through our journey I have made great strides in my game as well as been introduced to many wonderful people around the world. His understanding of human performance and his willingness to share this information has made this game so much more fun for me and for every student willing to open themselves up to trying new ways to improve their game.

What Dr. Albaugh has meant to First Tee has been unbelievable. His commitment to helping young people build character and life skills are completely in concert with his teachings. He speaks to proper preparation to increase performance is no different than preparing for the challenges we meet in life. The information he shares also helps every golfer reach personal goals, which are usually, far beyond their expectations. First Tee is so lucky to have him be part of the program.

Jeff Tokunaga, Board Member

Playing by the Rules During COVID-19

Chris Borrego, Program Director

As golfers know, playing by the rules during a round of golf is especially important and follows the First Tee core values of honesty and integrity, as well as, the PAR level life skill of Respecting the Rules. In 2020, we have had to put in an entirely different set of rules in order to safely have our Fall Tour Programs.

In many areas, golf was completely shut down for a period of time we made some significant shifts in our First Tee operations, as well as golfer behavior, to follow protocols.

With the help of Dr. Alan Randle (First Tee Level 1 Coach) and in consultation with the local and state health departments, we were able to formulate a plan to get the kids back out to First Tee. We changed the check-in procedures and implemented socially distanced circles, using cones for communication, to keep everyone safe. During the activities, they were spaced farther apart, and all kids and coaches wear face coverings. We used the “air” high five and lots of positive feedback to support our fellow players.

FIRST TEE – San Joaquin receives Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation $2,500 Fall 2020 Mini-Grant

[Linden, CA] Aaron Judge, New York Yankee and former Fresno State Bulldog, and founder of the Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation are proud to announce First Tee – San Joaquin is the recipient of the $2,500 Fall 2020 Mini-Grant for school activities, health & well-being, youth citizenship and character development. The core values and life skills taught through golf to children and youth 5-17 years old are:
  • RespectALL RISE Foundation 02
  • Courtesy
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Confidence
  • Sportsmanship
  • Perseverance
  • Judgement
  For more than 22 years, First Tee – San Joaquin has been using the platform of golf to provide innovative and experiential learning opportunities for young people. Character education and long-term life skills are at the heart of their programs, which are delivered by coaches who have been trained in positive youth development. The mission of First Tee – San Joaquin is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. This mini-grant will be used to provide “Golferships” to underserved youth to participate in First Tee programs. Participants are taught golf basics related to grip, stance, and swing. Volunteer coaches work in small groups to develop chipping, putting, and full swings. “Any time character education is built into activities for our youth, it makes a huge impact on our communities,” states Aaron Judge, Founder of Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation. “First Tee Golferships will enable kids to participate that may have never had the chance.” The Mini-Grant Award Program is possible due to the generous sponsors of the inaugural Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation fundraiser held in Linden in January 2019. All funds raised at this event go directly to children and youth programs in San Joaquin County that support ongoing education and citizenship.
ALL RISE Foundation 03

USGA Awards Grant to First Tee of San Joaquin for Local Youth Development Programs

USGA grant is part of a nationwide initiative to provide greater access to golf for youth The United States Golf Association (USGA) has awarded a $5,000 grant to First Tee of San Joaquin to further their efforts of introducing young people to the game of golf and experiences that empower children to build strength and character. This grant is one of 51 other grants being awarded nationwide to local ¬chapters affiliated with USGA Championships and Allied Golf Associations as part of the organization’s strategy to leave a positive impact on its local host communities. Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $26 million in grants to First Tee to provide course access for junior golfers and cultivate a life-long passion for the game. The commitment to expanding participation is part of the USGA’s mission to champion and advance the game. “Year after year we are seeing the positive impact that First Tee and other junior programs are having in breaking down barriers and connecting communities through sports,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “It is vital for golf’s long-term health that we continue to create pathways for all juniors to participate.” First Tee brings kids and teens to the game of golf and leverages it as a catalyst for personal growth through experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience. With USGA’s support, First Tee of San Joaquin reaches more than 1,000 young people annually at 4 program locations and several after school programs, with support from 40 volunteers. First Tee of San Joaquin impacts young people through character education and life skills workshops at in-school and after-school programs. “The USGA grant couldn’t have come at a better time for our chapter. The pandemic has caused a tremendous strain on our financial resources and as a local nonprofit organization we depend on local support and fundraising that has basically dried up since March. Fortunately, the USGA recognizes the need from First Tee around the country.” The funding is part of the USGA’s annual $70 million investment back into the game fueled by revenues generated by the U.S. Open.

Q & A with Lauren Garces

Why did you come back to the First Tee after leaving Golf for a few years?

I decided to start up golf again with the First Tee because of my close friends who had been in the Birdie class at our local chapter, and they always made it seem very fun. In addition, the people I knew had access to once in a lifetime opportunities, such as the Nature Valley Open at Pebble Beach. Madeline Zunino was my main inspiration to join the First Tee again because she was on the golf team my freshman year at Lincoln High, and she always talked about how awesome her experience was. I am so thankful to have joined this amazing organization just in time.

What was your favorite level in the First Tee and Why?

My favorite level of the First Tee is Eagle because I learn more about the core values, their meanings, and how they apply to real life. As much as I know I enjoyed Player and Par, I use what I learn each week in my leadership roles I have at home, at school, and on my sports teams I actively partake in.

What is your Favorite Core Value?

Perseverance is the most valuable 9 core value to me, because a true leader needs to be able to work through challenges. As Junior Class President at my high school, I have resorted back to perseverance to push me through the challenges. I have learned that not every event runs perfectly, and a leader needs to be able to adapt to the challenges. Perseverance has also helped me on the basketball court. This past basketball season, I was chosen to be team captain by my coach on the Girls Varsity Basketball Team at my high school. Being team captain is a very important job. For example, in a bad game, the team captain needs to be able to encourage their teammates to persevere  through the game and continue to work hard together. Working together on a team as a cohesive unit is the key to being successful. In the future, I aspire to be an even greater leader than I am now. My past and present leadership roles continue to challenge me and are preparing me for future roles that will have an even bigger impact on my community.

Don and Chris with Lauren at the Pure Insurance Championship
Don and Chris with Lauren at the Pure Insurance Championship

This was quite a year with the Life Skills Academy and Pure Insurance Pebble Beach Tournament. Can you share some of those highlights?

The Life Skills and Leadership Academy in Boise was phenomenal! I was surrounded by 90 other First Tee participants from around the country who were motivated just like I was. Not only did I form new relationships with other junior golfers, but I learned golf skills, drills, and more insight on the core values from coaches from other First Tee chapters. From the Pure Insurance, the skill level of every golfer at the tournament was unmatched. I’ve kept in touch with who I had formed relationships with at the tournament, and I’ve loved hearing about what golf was like after Pebble Beach, and even some signed to play golf in college just last month! Meeting these inspirational teens my age only pushes me harder to reach my goals in acquiring a golf scholarship in the near future.

What are your plans after High School?

In my future I aspire to have a career that relates back to athletics. I love the outdoors and I definitely enjoy the camaraderie between teammates and my coaches. My dream is to further develop my skills in golf to be a competitive student-athlete, applicable for scholarships. To do this I will keep my grades no lower than a 4.0 grade point average, continue my extracurricular activities outside of school, and complete 400 hours of community service through the “Commitment to Community” program, by the end of my Senior Year. I will work toward my dream of one day becoming a tour player in the LPGA. My backup plan is to take on a career that relates to athletics. My whole childhood revolved around extracurricular sports activities (weekly games, practices, tournaments, etc.). My interests have opened up my options from sports medicine, to sports marketing. Being involved in athletics my whole life has shaped me to become the student-athlete I am today.

Thank You to Local Fundraising Partners

The First Tee of San Joaquin has been the beneficiary of many fundraising events through the years and we continue to receive support from four golf tournaments each year.

First and foremost is the Ricky and Suzanne Barnes Foundation Tournament in the Fall. Ricky and Suzanne have been our biggest supporters the past 8 years and their event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars making a huge impact towards the success of our program. PGA tour pros visit Stockton each year to support Ricky and play in this first-class event. Local amateurs have a fun day rubbing elbows with these top golf celebrities and then enjoy a great dinner & auction afterwards. The First Tee of San Joaquin wouldn’t be where we are without Ricky and Suzanne!

Another long-standing golf tournament that supports The First Tee is hosted by the San Joaquin Medical Society. Each year locals gather to raise money for The First Tee and the Medical Society’s Decision Medicine Program. The event has been a huge success and keeps growing! Thanks to Dr. Adubofour and Dr. Khoury for their leadership in making this a great success.

If you’re looking for a crazy fun day on the links, look no further than the Midgley’s Public House or the Lovotti Inc. Tournaments. These two events sell out each year and raise thousands of dollars for The First Tee. Owners Mike Midgley and Scott Lovotti are dedicated community partners that take great pride in supporting local programs like ours. It’s no surprise that they are successful business people running a great restaurant and heating & air company. Thank you to both of them!

So, if you’re interested in having fun on the golf course and supporting The First Tee please consider signing up for one of these charity golf tournaments. Dates to be announced soon.



SJ Medical Society Golf Tournament
April 27th
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Midgley’s Public House Golf Tournament
April 27th
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Serving Our Youth

Last year, The First Tee of San Joaquin County was awarded a grant from the Community Foundation of San Joaquin. Over the course of 2019, the grant funds were put to good use at The Children’s Home of Stockton, TLC School for Homeless Children, and the Housing Authority County of San Joaquin (HACSJ). This grant gave the young people of the underserved neighborhoods of Sierra Vista and Conway Homes the opportunity to participate in the game of golf.

Kids getting golf lessons

“Our partnership with The First Tee has been a great success. Many of the children we bring to the program have never been to a golf course let alone been exposed to the game of golf and the many lessons the sport itself has to offer. Through The First Tee kids make new friends, learn about golf and valuable life skills in a fun-friendly, kid-safe environment. One lesson taught by The First Tee that stands out is respect, the children were taught when greeting someone one should take off their hat, look the person in the eye and shake their hand. It brings a smile to everyone’s face to see this lesson put into action.” Peter Ragsdale, Executive Director – HACSJ


Pure Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee

By: Chris Borrego, Program Director

Three of our players made it into the Pure Insurance Championship in 2018 – Skyler May and William Bensch, sophomores at St. Mary’s High, and Christopher Khan, a junior at Lincoln High. They played in late September at Poppy Hills and Pebble Beach. All three players are Eagle Level Participants in our program. The week was great – it was a little cold in the morning, but the sun would eventually come out, making for spectacular views.

Skyler played with tour winner, Chris DiMarco. He was a wonderful guy and in fact, Skyler did most of the heavy lifting for the team at Poppy Hills. Skyler showed that heart and determination is her trademark on the golf course. William played with US Open Champion, Scott Simpson. William had a very good day at Poppy Hills, shooting 75 on his own ball. Chris Khan played with Masters and PGA Champion, Vijay Singh. They were a great pairing, as neither is known for talking a lot on the course. Many times, they would walk down the fairway with each other in silence.

The Chapter sent a bus load of 40 kids and coaches down to the event on Saturday, September 29, where they met another 20-30 kids and parents who drove down for the day. They had lunch on the 18th Tee at Pebble Beach and the kids spent an hour going through the Chevron STEM Zone set up with many science, technology, engineering and math games and exhibits.

We then took their orange shirts and headed out to find Christopher Khan and Vijay Singh. Christopher had a spectacular shot from the bunker on #2 and spun it back to about 5 feet. Their view from the fairway was of 40-50 kids and coaches in orange First Tee of San Joaquin Chapter shirts. The group followed Christopher through hole 5 and then cut over to see Skyler as she was on hole 15. We were able to let out a huge cheer as Skyler made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th. A man leaned over from the tower behind the green and said that was the largest cheer of the day. Unfortunately, William was playing at Poppy Hills early that day so the kids on the bus did not get to see him. However, I went out in the morning and followed him for 9 holes and he was playing very well.

It was a wonderful week for the kids, as they were treated like tour players with dinners and activities almost every night. Many of the Senior Tour Pros were involved in the events with the kids. We look forward to a return with 1-3 players in 2019.

William Bensch
Christopher Kha
Skyler May

Community Foundation Of San Joaquin Awards $304,000 in Grants to Promote Health and Wellness in the Region

Community Foundation of San Joaquin awarded 16 nonprofits in San Joaquin County, including The First Tee of San Joaquin, a total of $304,000 from its competitive grants programs – the Community Health Fund and the Brian M. Stocker Fund – to support programs that promote health and wellness in the community. This is the second year that grants have been awarded from the Community Health Fund and the first year grants been awarded from the Brian M. Stocker Fund.

“We are proud to support this year’s grant recipients who share the same commitment we do to improving the health and well-being of our region. From cultivating healthcare workers who will stay in the area, establishing and strengthening educational programs that will teach youth healthy eating habits, to programs that support youth recreation, we are excited to see how the 16 organizations will help our community prosper,” says Moses Zapien, CEO and President of Community Foundation of San Joaquin.

Don Miller, Executive Director of The First Tee of San Joaquin stated, “This $20,000 grant will help create more opportunities in low and moderate income families to participate in our program. This grant will strengthen our reach in the underserved neighborhoods of Sierra Vista, Conway Homes, and The Children’s Home of Stockton, to give these young people the opportunity to participate in the game of golf.”


Q & A with Anitra Khoth, Eagle Participant

Recently our program director, chris borrego, Sat down with lincoln high school junior and Eagle participant of the first tee anitra khoth.

How did you get started with the First Tee?

I was introduced to The First Tee when my dad’s friend had mentioned it to him after fi nding out that my brother and I were starting to play golf.

What core value do you most identify with and why?

Perseverance would identify me the best since I have a strong urge to keep going no matter what obstacle comes my way. Through thick and thin, I will never stop striving for my goals since nothing is impossible to achieve.

What was or is your favorite level in the First Tee Program?

In my opinion, I love all levels of The First Tee Program, but Eagle level is my favorite since we are able to be our leaders and choose our own formats of golf. We are able to take charge of what we want to do, but of course, apply The First Tee life skill that is specifi cally assigned that week. Also, it is diverse because depending on the week, we are on the course or on the range.

Now on to this year, it was quite a year … You won a few times on the JGANC tour and had some good fi nishes on the NCGA junior tour. What was your favorite event on those tours?

For JGANC, I would say the George Maroney Junior Tournament, not because I won overall, but because I was able to persevere throughout the two rounds I played there. I did not know the course and was able to get around tough situations and it played longer than it says since elevation became a huge factor in club selection. For NCGA, it would be the tournament held at Dark Horse GC since I competed with many tough competitors and the course gave no mercy, which allowed me to work harder for the score that I strived to have on each hole.

Does having teammates in the First Tee Program help the team?

I strongly agree that having teammates in The First Tee Program helps the team since we are able to play with one another to see each others’ weaknesses and strengths which helps with giving each other advice. We are able to see what one another needs to work on more and to most defi nitely learn something from one another as we play on the course. Also, we are defi nitely applying the life skills that we have learned throughout the program levels to our golf game at the same time.

What things have coaches told you over the years that have stuck most with you, whether it be about golf or life?

Coaches have always told me to keep striving for my goals and to never allow someone to tell me that I am not capable of doing something. They have told me to always have confi dence in everything that I do and to always be open minded with anything that anyone has to tell me even if it may not be helpful. Also, to never give up golf since they see a lot of potential in me and would hate to see me stop doing something that could be life-changing someday.

What are your plans after high school?

After high school, I want to attend a 4-year college and play on the women’s golf team while studying to become a pharmacist, and hopefully open my own business someday. Afterwards, I would love to become a professional golfer and play on the LPGA Tour until it is time for me to retire!

Our Coaches

Story by Debbie Bond, Coach Have you seen a First Tee of San Joaquin coach in action? What you’ll see is a caring, patient, fun and committed person. Our chapter is lucky enough to have over 40 coaches helping more than 600 children at 5 locations this year. Ron Davis from Greenhorn Creek Golf Course and Robert Cleveland from The Reserve were recently honored as Co-Coaches of the year. Golf legend Arnold Palmer said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” First Tee coaches like Robert and Ron make it look easy! They set up activities that let the players experiment with different swings, clubs and speeds. They set up games that are disguised as golf that are fun and engaging, all while teaching them the nine core values of The First Tee. Our coaches at other levels use lesson plans laid out by our program director, Chris Borrego. His plans are easy to follow and designed to seamlessly weave life skills with golf skills during a fun activity. Coaching is very rewarding and fun! As 2008 Coach of the Year Tom Hooper will tell you, “We learn more from working with the kids than they learn from us!” Most of us are not low handicappers and it’s certainly not a prerequisite to be a good coach. A good coach sets up a safe environment for the players to experiment and have fun. One of the best feelings is a session where we are in the middle of an activity and an opportunity comes up to use a life skill. The First Tee calls that a “teachable moment.” It makes it all worth the cold, early Saturday mornings! Can you coach? Of course, you can! We begin our Spring Tour in March. You will be so glad you did! Stockton’s youth are searching for mentors to look up to.  

5th Annual Ricky & Suzanne Barnes Foundation Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament

October 16, 2016 • Stockton Golf & Country Club

The Ricky and Suzanne Barnes Foundation has played a tremendous part in my life. Their foundation has kindly donated money to our First Tee Chapter, ensuring that the participants have the best experiences possible. I will forever be grateful for all that they have done in making The First Tee of San Joaquin the best it can be. Every year the Barnes family host a golf tournament to raise money for our local chapter, and for two years I have been given the opportunity to share my surreal experiences through The First Tee and my development as an individual. I was honored to speak in front of such elite people and without a doubt this once in a lifetime experience not only allowed my public speaking skills to grow but my love for those that give up their valued time to better the organization I strongly care about. We definitely need more families like the Barnes family in the world. They are kind, very much respected, and give back to their community. Ricky himself has made me feel as though anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. I will forever believe with all my heart and achieve with all my might. Thanks to the Barnes family I was inspired to dream bigger.